10.06.2020 • 4 minutes
Francesco Contino, professor of engineering and specialist in thermodynamics at the Catholic University of Leuven, shares his experience with Wooclap.
What if students could decide, at least in part, what they are going to learn? This is the challenge that Francesco Contino has set for himself. In an effort to involve the students more and make them actors of their learning, this engineering professor, who specialises in thermodynamics at the Catholic University of Louvain, used Wooclap to build courses “in which you are the hero”.
Francesco Contino used Wooclap to ask his students to choose the way the rest of the course was going to take place. With an average of one poll per lecture, he asked them to cast a vote on several matters:
Preparing the course takes more time. It is particularly essential to ensure that, whatever the students choose, the progression of the course remains logical. This requires clearly identifying the prerequisites and providing different times when they can be covered, so that students have the knowledge they need to understand the course at all times.
The course must be readjusted from week to week, by reorganising its general trajectory or by detailing certain aspects depending on the students’ choices. « Organising this type of course is certainly not the easiest solution, but isn’t this job done out of passion and to train the students as well as possible? »
The evaluation is qualitative, not quantitative, but it shows educational benefits measured in several ways:
Having the opportunity to decide increases motivation, and therefore commitment to learning.
Prof. Francesco Contino
In addition to the course, Francesco Contino plans to produce explanatory videos and provide texts and exercises from which students can choose. The idea is to enable them to enrich their scientific knowledge, as they will be called upon to work in the field of energy without being specialists themselves.
In other courses, students could choose between different exercises to complete, for example, or between several cases which require a practical application of the theory. However, according to Francesco Contino, « a single tool is never the solution to everything. The best pedagogy is to add diversity to lectures. »
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